Updated: Nov 24, 2020
The Hype-Train had long since pulled out of the station when I finally jumped on board with Machi Koro. The Deluxe edition of the game comes in a tin (not a fan of tins, but, I digress) with the Harbour and the Millionaires Row expansions plus some “deluxe” tokens and a couple of dice. It’s a reasonable deal for the complete set, although IDW’s poor quality cardstock is a downer even with the low price point.
Machi Koro places you in charge of building your own town. You begin the game with a Wheat Field and a Bakery and by the end of the game you must construct a series of Landmarks (Train Station, Shopping Mall, Amusement Park, Radio Tower and Airport). The first player to do so wins.
Your turn begins by rolling a dice and checking to see if any of your or your opponent's cards activate. Blue Cards activate on all turns, Green and Purple only on your turn and Reds only on your opponents. As you buy new cards you want to get cards that activate on more numbers, but also double down on cards that will net you large profits.
As you build your monuments you unlock special abilities, such as rolling two dice, gaining rerolls or even getting an extra turn when you roll doubles. Sure, there is luck in this game, it has dice after all, but you can mitigate your luck by spreading out your purchases, ensuring you have building that activate regardless of what you roll.
With the expansions the way you build your city changes, not all cards will be available so you have to learn to adapt, to make the buildings that are available work for you. I highly recommend using the variant market rules where you create three decks of market cards, 6 or less, 6 or above and Purple. This ensures a more even mix of cards throughout the game and prevents stagnation.
Overall I like Machi Koro, I wasn’t as blown away by it as some people were but I think it’s a fine city building game with some interesting choices that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It’s simple to teach and it ramps up nicely in complexity as you build your city. This is definitely a game I like having in my collection and one I am always happy to play.